Author: The piece was written by Thorstein Veblen, an American economist and sociologist. He is well known for his thinking in the field, as he applied Darwinian theory to economic analysis.
Context: Written in 1902, Veblen was writing in the midst of the second Industrial Revolution. As the middle class began to surge, many previously lower class individuals were becoming more prosperous. Veblen observes this phenomenon, thus he writes Conspicuous Consumption.
Language: Veblen’s tone is analytic, observant, and unromantic. His diction is advanced.
Audience: Veblen is writing for the a intellectual audience, as indicated by his advanced word choice.
Intent: Veblen is pointing out the vast eruption of the middle class and its transformation into a consumer society, a society that spends money on luxury goods, in order to flaunt their wealth to others. He sees this as relatively negative and criticizes them.
Message: Veblen makes an attempt to show that the world is becoming too materialistic, as many purchase items to simply show wealth; items that are otherwise useless. He continues, saying that the rift between the rich and poor is becoming more vast, and the public displays of money only adds to this.